Saturday, February 25, 2012

7 Quick Takes... Slighlty Lame Version

Alright folks, ya'll know the drill.  The 7 Quick Takes is hosted over at with Jennifer (who has returned to hosting after a few weeks of guest hosting by Haley at I have been missing for a few weeks, but  now I'm back and ready with some great QTs... This is definitely going to be a quick set of quick takes!

(1) Praying for my enemies
So for Lent this year I've decided to "pray for my enemies," or as one of my friends (who is also doing this) more accurately referred to it, we are "praying for a different person [we] kind of dislike everyday." I don't exactly have "enemies," but taking the time to pray for the people who annoy me whether it's an old friend who has recently ticked you off, or the "creepy looking obnoxious man in the last pew who says all of the Mass responses incredibly loudly as if trying to prove that he learned the new responses," (yes that is really who I prayed for on Ash Wednesday, and yes praying for him as the "creepy looking obnoxious man" instantly felt awkward and was changed in my prayer) has been a rewarding experience! I recommend. 

(2) Vegetarian Lent 
I've decided to go veggie for Lent.  Unfortunately this was challenged today when I attended a conference which only offered turkey and cheese sammies for lunch, so I did cheat a bit.  But ultimately this has also been rewarding.  I think my friends blog post about her Vegan Fridays during Lent, explains very well some of the reasons why I choose to limit my meat consumption.
(3) "Weird" Lenten Ideas
 Somehow in the world of various internet link-ups I came across this article from Lifeteen on "20 Weird Ideas" of what to give up for Lent.  Overall I thought the list made sense but there was one idea that REALLY bothered me.  The very first idea on the list "don't eat the last bite of your food." Now in theory this sounds like a miniature fast at the end of every meal, but then I thought about it little more.  Over the course of 40 days of Lent,  that is more than 100 bites of food, at an average of 3 meals a day that would be 120 bites of food. ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY BITES OF FOOD.  Wasteful much?  Imagine how many hungry people you could feed with 120 bites of food.

(4)  The Biggest Loser and Twitter
The Biggest Loser and Twitter are my new obsessions.  They might sound unrelated but in fact the obsessions fuel one another, primarily because I follow all of last season's contestants on Twitter and love to read their reactions to the show.  According to my twitter profile, my twitter dream is to have Bob Harper reply or retweet me, and I am only half kidding.

(5) Clients!
I am excited that work has finally been getting busy, and I am finally starting to serve lots of clients. It is a great feeling.  Starting a brand new non-profit venture is definitely a big undertaking, and starting to see things come together is quite rewarding.

(6) Diocesan Women's Conference
I have never attended the Diocesan Women's Conference (here in the diocese of Springfield, MA), I have also never heard Fr. James Martin, SJ speak.  But this year I'll check both of those off, because he is the keynote for this year's Catholic women's conference, and I am pretty stoked!  My incredibly limited Jesuit education during two semesters at Creighton and involvement in a Jesuit parish when I lived in SD, led me to an interest in Jesuit spirituality and introduced me to Fr. Martin. I am really excited to hear him, in large part because despite the fact that he is a nationally known and renowned writer he is a virtual unknown here in WMass, and in the conservative Springfield Diocese the Jesuits don't always get as much respect as they deserve (this partially traces back to the decision of Boston College to go against Cardinal O'Malley and allow pro-abortion politicians to receive communion on campus, and thus the negative press for the Jesuits here in New England). Before heading west my opinion of the Jesuits was definitely tainted, and I am excited for Fr. Martin to bring the beautiful Jesuit spirituality here to the Valley!

(7) PCWM
I've always considered myself an amateur (at best) use of social media, but as I continue using it more actively, and utilizing it for professional purposes as well as personal my desire to learn more keeps going.  Hence why I've spent the day at Pod Camp Western MA!  It has been an interesting experience, and I can't wait to go back and read through so many of the resources that were shared today.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Preparing for Lent

Still failing on all these Quick Takes, but someday I will manage to actually get on it! Hopefully I'll actually follow through this week, while Miss Hallie Lord/Betty Beguiles is still guest-hosting for Jen.  I'm loving this guest hosting as it gives me an excuse to make extra visits over to!

Is anyone else finding it as hard to believe as I am that Lent starts NEXT WEEK! I mean, Christmas barely ended, I still have some Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joes in the cabinet.  Granted, this may be in small part due to the fact that I've been hoarding, but still, that's beside the point!  Well, believe it or not, Lent is walking up the front path, ready to be knocking at our doorstep soon enough.  I don't know about you, but I have a few things left to do before the start of Lent.  I'm sure I could come up with many, many things if I tried, but for now, here is a top ten list.

(1) Reexamine my goals 
Remember my "New Years" post back from the start of Advent?  The one where I laid out my spiritual goals for the new liturgical year? Well as practical as I tried to be, I'm not sure I succeeded in following these goals as much as I would like.  Have I made time for prayer? Yes. Well, sort of.  In other words, I haven't made as much time for prayer as I would like. Appreciating blessings is a fairly easy one, but unfortunately I can't say the same for my Bible reading. And that most important goal of all?  Making God the priority. Well, He is my priority.  No doubt on that one.  But have I been acting like it?  That's where things get questionable... 

(2) Get the sin out of my system 
No, this isn't my excuse to sin as much as possible in the next 7 days (though yes, I am human, and yes, I will undoubtedly sin).  I need to get the sin out of my system. Cast it out of my soul.  In other words, I'm a bit overdue for a trip to the Confessional.

(3) Girl Scout Cookies 
A former roommate once told me she thought Girl Scouts were evil.  She was being more than a little facetious, but she did not appreciate that the delicious Samoas, Tagalongs and Do-si-Dos always made their appearance during Lent.  Sometime in the next seven days I need to get my hands on two boxes of Thin Mints.  One is on the express train to my stomach, and the other is going to enjoy a forty day vacation in the freezer until I get home from Easter Vigil on April 7th.  

(4) Scheduling A Few Dates
If I want to start succeeding on these goals  it is time for me to accept that I'm a busy gal and it's going to take a bit of advanced planning.  For the past few years I've been taking a bit of an Ignatian approach to prayer - I've been trying to pray in my daily life, to achieve that goal of prayer at all times or contemplation in action.  Unfortunately, I took what St. Ignatius knew was a difficult task, and tried to water it into something easy.  Recently I heard the following quote, from the Catechism - "we cannot 'pray at all times' if we do not pray at specific times."  I was using the concept of prayer in action, not in order to pray at all times of my day, but as a reason not to pray at specific times of the day. I thought it was better to simply interweave my day with prayer, instead of separating a "Time" for God, I wanted Him to be part of every moment.  And this would have been great, had I been successful.  So now it is back to the drawing board, time to make "appointments with God," as one smart campus minister recommended a long time ago.  So, before Lent, I am creating a "prayer calendar" and scheduling a date with God for each of these 40 days.  

(5)  Finding A Few Buddies 
Throughout college, and during my time in the Midwest directly following college, I was blessed with a great faith community.  Initially, the loss of this was really difficult for me.  Without my faith community it was difficulty for me to sustain my faith.  Since then I realized that at times, I had come to appreciate the community more than the faith.  Instead of allowing the community to bolster my faith, I had allowed the faith to become a side note, while the community was what I really appreciated. Both were important, but I had allowed them to become so co-dependent that when one part (community) changed, I risked losing the other part (faith). Now I am starting to rebuild my faith and what it means to have a faith community.  I am looking for a few good friends to support the journey, to hold me accountable to all these dates I'm scheduling with God. Maybe we can even go on a double date together, I'm sure Jesus won't mind the extra company :)